Andrew Forrest (1961 – ) mining magnate
Forrest publicly pledged this year to give away most of his fortune. He revealed the biggest inspiration for his giving: the Bible. Forrest’s devout Christianity is unusual for a prominent Australian entrepreneur.
Forrest publicly pledged this year to give away most of his fortune – recently estimated by Forbes magazine at $5.7 billion – to charity. It’s a promise that could make him Australia’s greatest philanthropist. He revealed the biggest inspiration for his giving: the Bible. Forrest’s devout Christianity is unusual for a prominent Australian entrepreneur, perhaps especially so for one who thrives on risk and adopts a win-at-all-costs approach to business. But none of Forrest’s friends doubts his piety. They have experienced enough Forrest- led prayer sessions, or caught him sneaking a quick read of his Bible during enough hectic overseas business trips, to understand that belief in God appears to guide his every waking hour.
Admirable, but his way of finding God seems disturbingly trivial:
Forrest “found” God as a nine-year-old boy in the sandhills near Minderoo, the family property. He grew up in a family of Anglicans, but the Forrests were not overtly religious. Late one afternoon, Andrew was riding his motorbike miles from the homestead when he decided to throw the key to the machine away in the dunes to see if he could find it again. He related the anecdote last year: “One of the reasons I became a Christian and am still a Christian now is because after about three or four hours of fruitless search among the spinifex and the hot sand for this key which I was probably never going to find, I tried everything, every physical thing to find the key. And eventually, when I had given up all hope … I prayed. And when I came up from praying, there was the key between a little petrol overflow hose and the carburettor on the motorbike. “Now there’s not a snowflake’s chance in hell that I threw it there; I threw it over my shoulder. So I just thought, ‘OK, that’s cool, we’re showing off a little here, God. That’s a very obvious sign, I won’t ever test you again’ – and I haven’t.”
Andrew Forrest announced that proceeds from the sale of the first 5,000 tonnes of iron ore would go to relief efforts for the Chinese earthquake. Mr Forrest is a church going Christian, and nothing was going to be loaded onto the Heng Shan without a prayer, which was delivered on this occasion by the Reverend Philip Knight.
Heavenly father we thank you for the resources that you’ve put on earth which we’re able to utilise for our benefit and we particularly thank you for the wealth in natural resources that are found in this region. Thank you for the abilities you have given people to source iron ore in the Pilbara and we thank you for all the workers of FMG whose commitment and hard work has got us to this day of shipping out of the first load of iron ore. Also thank you for those who have believed in and supported this project from its very beginning.
Australian of the Year finalist: Philanthropist Andrew Forrest strives to put an end to modern slavery and Indigenous disadvantage
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